To celebrate the hotly anticipated release of Inherent Vice, we've picked our favourite 70s cinematic moments
Last Friday marked the UK release of Inherent Vice, Thomas Pynchon's heady encapsulation of the 1970s, directed by Paul Thomas Anderson. The film is a glazed overview of California’s free love era, complete with tangled afros, soil-stained feet and the odd velvet suit. Against the rich, textured landscapes of LA’s beaches, pavements and communes, private detective Larry "Doc" Sportello (Joaquin Phoenix) navigates his way through a series of thrilling episodic mysteries. Neo-Nazis and yogis co-exist in this strange interregnum between the hippie movement and the "me" decade. Here, in celebration of the film's release, we’ve picked out our favourite 70s moments on film, spanning hair, flares, floral dresses and furs.
Boogie Nights – Retro Rubbish
The hedonistic, polyester-friendly era is brought to the fore in Boogie Nights, complete with tube socks, roller-skates, slinky jumpsuits, and questionable floral headpieces. Set in 1978 in the San Fernando Valley, Boogie Nights explores a plethora of retro junk, including donning canary yellow heart-shaped sunglasses, toweled headbands and free-spirited poolside attire.
Goodfellas – The Mobster Look
The Scorsese way to 70s style prizes wide-cut trousers, oversized collars and double-breasted suits. Tracing the stylish rise and fall of mobster and FBI informant Henry Hill, the film is peppered with killer fashion pieces, including Ray Liotta’s brown leather blazer, troughs of golden jewellery and fine-cut Italian suits.
The Virgin Suicides – Dreamy
The first thing that comes to mind when thinking of Sofia Coppola’s first feature film The Virgin Suicides is the ethereal 1970s beauty of the young protagonists, the Lisbon sisters, which is reflected in their iconic clothing. From the coordinating floral dresses the girls wear to the prom, to their school uniforms and casual styling, the retro cinematic experience is flurried with girlish hues, macaroon pastel shades and innocent femininity.
Love in the Afternoon – Boldness
The 1972 film directed by Éric Rohmer – the sixth and final movie in Rohmer's Six Moral Tales – is a relic of the era’s more liberated style. From the bathroom walls dressed with floral wallpaper and the bright-coloured carpet, to Chloe’s progressive outlook, blunt bangs and hippie swag, the movie sweats out 70 boldness.
American Hustle – Comb-Overs & Perms
David O. Russell’s Oscar-winning 2013 dramedy film is a pool of 70s getups. Gloriously garish set design and clothing aside, the hair alone is masterfully era defining, from Bradley Cooper's outlandish shiny perm and Amy Adams's long disco curls to Christian Bale's dodgy and voluminous comb-over.
Summer of Sam – Mod Revival
The 1970s are arguably the decade most referenced in fashion and film and Summer Of Sam is no exception. Spike Lee’s crime thriller sees Adam Brody in the role of Richie, a mod with Union Jack T-shirts and punk hairstyle who plays at CBGB. Simply New York City’s summer of '77 at its finest.
James Bond: Live and Let Die – The Black Polo Neck
If this is a column about 1970s aesthetics then talking about the polo neck becomes inevitable. Let’s put it this way, the turtleneck is to the 70s what the denim overall is to the 90s. And who could pull it off better than James Bond? In the 1973 movie directed by Guy Hamilton, Roger Moore wears it black and tops it with a shoulder holster. Surely not the best camouflage outfit, but that’s a different story.
The Ice Storm – The Swinging 70s
The story of two Connecticut families in 1973, The Ice Storm takes place in a time of change. America is learning the truth about Watergate and the world is witnessing the real sexual revolution. Alcohol and adultery always make for a good movie recipe. Add flared pants, drug mixing, suicidal thoughts, fur trims and Nixon on TV for the most twisted Thanksgiving experience of your life.
Almost Famous – The Ultimate Groupie
It’s safe to say that rock ‘n’ roll music reached its commercial peak in the 70s, with every big artist witnessing the sensation of the groupie movement. Taking place at the dawn of the decade, this much-loved ode to music sees a bunch of groupies, the Band Aids – led by an envy-inducing, sheepskin-swathed Kate Hudson – devoutly trailing up-and-coming rock band Stillwater, alongside aspiring music journalist William Miller, who has adopted the guise of a Rolling Stone writer.
Dazed and Confused – Guys with Long Hair
The 1970s were, without doubt, the hairiest decade in the history of mankind. And in this kills-me-every-time-I-see-it movie, the male characters are just on point with their 70s throwback hairstyle. Rugged, floppy hair has never looked this good. Although Slater’s locks are fake, but that’s “all right, all right, all right”.
Inherent Vice is in cinemas now.